There is a lot to consider when it comes to running your home.
- Should I get a security system?
- What types of light bulbs meet my lighting needs but are going to be energy efficient?
- Should I install carpeting or laminate wood?
And if that’s not enough, add one more thing to the list: When should I replace my heating unit?
Your heating system shouldn’t require continuous attention, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted, either. Ignoring your system could result in indoor air that is loaded with dust or allergens (or worse!), or even an inefficient heating unit that is wasting energy and money with every utility bill.
But how do I know if it’s time to replace my heating system?
The following warning signs can help you determine if you just need a quick tune-up or if it’s time to replace your current heater.
1. Frequent Repair Costs
It is not uncommon for a heater to eventually need a part replacement or a little attention once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly, but a well-maintained heater should work without much repairing along the way. A few indications that your system may be in need of replacing are below:
- calling the service technician frequently for the same issue;
- needing numerous visits during the same heating season;
- constantly writing checks just to keep your house comfortably warm.
A general rule to remember: if yearly repair costs reach 50% of the present value of the heating unit, it’s most likely time to replace your furnace.
2. Energy Efficiency
Are your utility bills are a little higher than this time last year? That may be a sign that some part of your heating system is weakening. Most companies can provide a residential energy audit which can point out easily remedied inefficiencies like weather-stripping around your doors and windows or attic insulation. It may also be the first step in deciding if your heating unit is in need of replacing. Older heating units can be very inefficient, while newer technologies are much more efficient at heating your home. Also, upgrading to a high-efficiency product could mean tax credits or utility rebates and incentives to help you recoup the cost of the new system.
3. Old Age
Heating systems were never designed to last until the end of time. Newer, more efficient systems are coming out all the time. But how long should your unit last? The magic number for a furnace or boiler is 15 years. But keep in mind many old heating systems operate at an efficiency of just 65 percent or less! A replacement that’s been qualified with the Energy Star rating can be up to 30% more efficient, and that’s a difference you’ll notice in your home and your bank account.
4. Excessive Noise
If you need to raise your voice to talk because your unit is too loud, that could be a indicator that your duct system is undersized and too much air is being pushed through too small an opening.
Other noises like squealing, rattling, bumping, or banging could be signs of a mechanical problem. It could be as straightforward as a worn belt, but it may mean an internal component of your unit has loosened or come completely disconnected.
Today’s latest products work more quietly than ever. Often you’ll have to really pay attention to even know that they’re running. If noise pollution is important for you, that may be reason enough to upgrade to newer equipment.
5. Temperature and Comfort Issues
If you are having to constantly jack up the heater to keep things in the house comfortable, that should be a major red flag that it’s time to re-evaluate your furnace. There are several factors that could cause this issue - it may be resolved with a new thermostat that allows you more control – so before you assume that you’re in for a whole new heating system, give some thought to your thermostat.
6. Humidity Issues
In the winter, low humidity makes the air inside your home feel colder than it is, often tricking you into turning up the temperature. Common complaints when the humidity is too low are dry air, sore throats, and chapped skin. Incorrect humidity can even negatively impact hardwood floors and furniture. Today’s best heating systems help to keep this important balance right where it should be, adding or removing moisture before it ever enters the heating unit.
7. Air Quality Issues
A number of issues that don’t directly relate to temperature can be improved significantly with an expertly designed and properly installed heating system. If you are experiencing issues with household odors, airborne allergens, such as pollen and pet dander, germs, ozone, and even plain old dust, consulting a professional heating system contractor can start you on the road to resolving them.
So you do all your investigating and decide you do need a new heater, or you want to upgrade your furnace to more efficient technology, replace your home’s ductwork, or do a total renovation of the entire system, call Abbey Air Home Services by Enercare today for a free, no-obligation Home Comfort Analysis.